358 - Toughman


 "FEATS OF ENDURANCE" your sign advertises. "NEXT SHOW OF AMAZING FORTITUDE AT 1PM" At 12:59, you start the show early because you are a fucking maverick.

You begin the show by ripping a telephone book in half, one page at a time. After the amazing forty-five minute display of patience and stamina, the audience is somehow not impressed. Tough crowd.

Next you announce to the onlookers you will bend a four-inch iron nail with your mouth. You place the nail in between your teeth and pull down hard. Audible clicks and cracking noises come from your mouth as your teeth shatter against the nail's superior hardness. You endure, though, and manage to use your bloody gums, squished flat against your jawbone, to bend the nail slightly.

Several gasps are heard in the crowd when you present the bloody nail, but no applause. Fuck.

You move on to your final trick, always a show-stopper. You ask for a female volunteer from the audience. As the young woman steps up on to the stage and you have a short conversation with her, you realize quickly you could never love her, which is perfect. You marry this woman you do not love live for the audience, literally stop the show, and invite the audience back in thirty years.

Three decades later, you all reconvene at the same location (except old Gerta, god bless her soul) and you reveal to the audience that you are still married to the woman from their ranks.

Nothing. Not even a clap.

Well, this the last time you put on a show in this town.